During my latest artist adventures with Janette Maxey, I found my new toolbox at an antique flea market in Ueno Park here in Tokyo. It’s just the right size in just the right color; purple! And it sparkles! I have been searching for ages for the just the right tool box. I’d find one in the right shape, but not a good quality. Or I’d find one in an ok shape, but more durable but still just not quite right for me.

Formal Kimono Bag I’m using as a toolbox

It’s not an antique, probably not even vintage but that’s ok. My new-to-me toolbox is a formal kimono bag, most often paired with a matching set of shoes. For the cost of 1100yen, it’s a hard-sided bag with a yellow fabric interior and a gold-handle.

Is that a maker’s mark or an owner’s name?

What is in my artist toolbox?

From true antique tools to high tech accessories and custom made pieces I like to keep my eyes open when it comes to my tools. One of the most important lessons I learned from Sensei Yasasuge, my chyoukin and jewelry instructor, is to be wise with your tools. He had a single tool that was capable of doing multiple tasks. Through this practice I realized I don’t need a specialized tool for each task as much as I expected when working with metals.

There is plenty of room for both my metals and fiber tools; my collection of various tipped pliers, crochet hooks, embroidery scissors, an afghan hook, Japanese scissors, custom crochet hook, special lenses for macrophotography, tape measure, spools of wire, pens, embroidery hoop, needles and meishi. There’s still room for threads, too.

I’m excited to be using my new toolbox!

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